ZAGREB, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Workers from the Uljanik shipyard in Croatia's coastal city Pula started a strike on Monday morning due to unpaid salaries for September, Croatian national television reported.
Around 1,500 workers protested first in front of the management building, asking the leave of the company management. They went later out of the shipyard and walked through the city with many people greeting and cheering for them.
Boris Cerovac, president of the union, told reporters that president of the Uljanik Group Gianni Rossanda has to step down today and that the Croatian government should speed up a restructuring plan for the company. Unless they do that, Rossandi said, the workers will go in the capital Zagreb to stage a protest in front of the government's building.
Croatian television reported that the Uljanik management had sent on Friday a restructuring plan to the Croatian government who should soon decide on further steps.
This is the third strike in Uljanik Group this year. After the last strike in September, the government found a model to help workers and secured them salaries for July and August, but after that, the economy minister said that further help would not be possible. After the last strike, clients have terminated a few shipbuilding contracts worth millions of euros. There are two ships in the shipyard that should be finished by the end of the year.
Uljanik Group controls two shipyards in the northern Adriatic, one in Pula and another in Rijeka. The European Commission rejected the latest restructuring plan that was intended to prevent bankruptcy at the company.
Shipbuilding was once a prosperous industry in Croatia. It is still very important because shipyards and their subcontractors share up to ten percent of Croatian employment and two percent of the country's GDP.